Decarbonization Avenue : C2V - CO2 to Value

In fact

When history, politics and science come together for converting CO2 to liquid fuels

Sasol, an integrated chemicals and energy company, was founded in 1950 in South Africa, and was one of the first in the world to start using technology developed by Germans in early 1900s that converted coal to oil - mainly owing to the fact that South Africa had a lot of the former and almost none of the latter.

This technology experience came in for great use during the apartheid era when oil embargo against South Africa owing to its racial discrimination. Sasol was instrumental in converting the country’s coal to oil way back in the 1960s and 70s, through the production of syngas from coal and converting the syngas into gasoline  (see this 1979 WashPost report - ) - courage for a poor cause, but courage all the same.

Apartheid is gone, but South Africa has the technology and expertise to use for converting CO2 to synthetic fuels. There are multiple routes possible for converting CO2 to fuels, one of which involves converting CO2 and hydrogen first to syngas - a familiar territory for South Africa. Is it any wonder they are fast forwarding their research efforts into CO2 to oil? Here’s one such effort, with who else but Sasol taking the lead again -

Relevant for

  • Corporate strategy professional
  • Business visionary / thought leader
  • Chemical engineer
  • Oil & gas engineer
  • Economist
  • Bureaucrat
  • Political leader
  • International policy making professional
  • Military or defense professional

Innovation sector

  • Chemistry & chemical engineering
  • Policy-making

Other In fact


  • University researcher
  • Corporate researcher
  • Government

Climafix - catalyzing India's climate innovation & startup ecosystem